US Presidential Elections: Does the Rise of Bernie Sanders have a wider significance?

Collage1Published: 4 February 2016.
Author: Owen Jones.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

The results of the first contest for the Democratic nominee for US President, held in Iowa a few days ago, resulted in a virtual tie between the establishment figure of Hilary Clinton and the ?socialist? challenger, Bernie Sanders. This is an incredible result for Sanders who is calling for ?a political revolution? to take back wealth and power from ?the billionaire class?. Now the next question in the Democratic Party contest is whether Sanders can extend his growing support among white youth and workers to the black and hispanic population, as well as to older voters.

The success of Bernie?s Sanders campaign so far is clearly part of a wider international movement for radical change driven by the world economic crisis and the inexorable rise of inequality. The following article by Owen Jones compares the rise of support for a more radical alternative in the US to similar developments in Europe, and highlights the generational aspects they represent.

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The World Elite Meets in Davos as the Richest 1% Now Own More Than the Rest of Humanity

Collage med res 2Published: 22 Jan 2016.
Author: Michael Roberts.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

The latest report from OXFAM shows that inequality between the rich and poor has sharply accelerated since the onset of the world economic crisis in 2008. The payment of the banks debts at the public?s expense, followed by the provision to them of cheap money from the central banks, have combined to massively boost the assets of the wealthy. This has been in stark contrast to the austerity imposed on working people internationally which has caused their living standards to fall dramatically.
… A key part of the story has been the use by the rich, the corporations and the corrupt of tax havens to hide their wealth and avoid paying taxes on it. OXFAM are running a campaign against these tax havens at “evenitup.org“.
… Below we publish a comment on OXFAM?s wealth report by Michael Roberts, the marxist economist. In it he defends the statistics in OXFAM’s report against its capitalist detractors.

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UN Climate Change Agreement in Paris – just another case of ‘fiddling while Rome burns’?

Collage med res
Published: 11th January 2016.

Intro by Pat Byrne (TSN Editor).
Detailed analysis of the UN Agreement by: Mike Davies (Chair, Alliance for Green Socialism).

Radio interview on the consequences of the Agreement with Chris Williams (author of ?Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis?).

Introduction – Another Toothless Agreement

Less than a month has passed since the United Nations Climate Change Conference brought together representatives of 196 countries in Paris and made an Agreement which is supposed to stop the rise of Global temperatures. On one side the mainstream media greeted the Paris Agreement as a major step forward in the battle against climate change. On the other a wide range of environmental groups have denounced the Agreement as merely window dressing, a serious of pious promises without enforcement rules which will have no effect on the growing ecological threat.

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World Economy Today – A Poisonous Concoction

Published: 9 December 2015.
Author: Michael Roberts.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

Stock markets are falling around the planet as prices for raw materials – oil, metals etc. continue to fall. Is this a sign of an approaching international economic slump?

Here we publish the latest assessment from renowned marxist economist, Michael Roberts, which looks at what these falling commodity prices indicate for the world economy.

Oil Slides Again

Oil Crude oil prices have hit a seven-year low after last week?s decision in Vienna of OPEC, the oil cartel, not to put any limit on oil production next year.

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Debate: On British Labour?s New Economic Policy

mcdcorbPublished: 25 November 2015
Debate Participants: Themos Demetriou, Michael Roberts and Eric Andersson

“Where Michael Roberts is Wrong” by Themos

In one of his latest posts Michael Roberts questions the validity of the economic philosophy of the new Labour Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, as well as his marxist credentials. He points out that in his keynote speech on economics at the Labour Annual Conference he accepts Marx?s analysis of the capitalist system but distances himself from his conclusions about what to do. He goes on to criticise McDonnell?s decision to appoint Keynesian rather than Marxist economists to his panel of economic advisers and forecasts that ?Corbyn and McDonnell?s National Investment Bank will not be enough to deliver sufficiently faster growth as long as the UK economy is still dominated in its strategic sectors by capitalist profit-making companies in the City of London?.

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Correction To An Old Article

correction-2xgekz01y46mqrl2b244y2On the 20th 0f April 2015 we published an article about the approaching General Election in Britain. In the article we reproduced the text of a statement issued by the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory on its website: https://socialistcampaignforalabourvictory.wordpress.com/sign-the-statement/. This included a list of ‘Initial Signatories’ copied from the same site in which British Labour MP John McDonnell’s name was included (it still is). On our part, we have now removed John’s name from the list in our article because he has informed us that he did not put his name to this statement and that it was published there without his consent. We apologise for any confusion and refer any enquiries to the Socialist Campaign for a Labour Victory whose statement it was and whose list of signatories it still is.
TSN Editor

Turkish Elections ? Nationalism and Terror Take Country Closer to Dictatorship

Collage 1Published: 5 November 2015
Author: Tayfun Hatipo?lu

The victory of the ruling AK Party in Turkey’s parliamentary elections on November 1st was an important step on an increasingly dictatorial path. Having lost its majority in last June?s elections, AK Party leader President Erdogan was unwilling to accept the verdict of the people and allow a coalition government to be formed. Instead, he instructed his puppet Prime Minster Davuto?lu to perform an elaborate charade in which discussions were held with each of the opposition parties. This was supposedly to examine the possibilities of a coalition government  but was really only to provide time for an alternative strategy to be put in place.

In this, the Government was most fortunately assisted by the decision of Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the right-wing Turkish nationalist party, the MHP, to refuse again and again to enter any coalition government, either with the opposition parties or the AK Party regime. This strange position has led Bahceli to become known as ?Mr No?, a position that has caused some speculation that the ruling Party has done a secret deal with him or has some hold over him through blackmail or some other means.

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Debate: What options for the Left in Greece?

Syriza Keeps the Greeks on Track

Published: 15/10/2015.
Author: Themos Demetriou (Socialist Expression Cyprus).
Intro by: TSN Editor.

In the run up to our Annual Meeting next weekend in Athens – see here for details – the debate about the struggle in Greece continues. Here we publish a document written eight weeks ago, a long time in terms of the frenetic pace of events there. Accordingly the author has added an introduction to cover his thoughts on the latest developments:

 

The document below was first published in late August, during the election campaign that returned Tsipras to power with an astonishing 35.5% of the vote. Even at that time it was necessary to add a postscript in order to bring it up to date with the fact that elections were called by Tsipras, and a split took place in Syriza with the formation of the new Popular Unity party.

Today, with the results of the elections being what they are, a few comments on the developing situation are probably in order.

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Final Invitation to the Socialist Network Annual Meeting 23-25 October in Athens, Greece

Network ConferenceThe Socialist Network Annual Meeting is just nine days away – it runs from Friday 23rd of October to Sunday 25th inclusive – and will be covering some of the key issues for the international left (see Agenda below).

This year the meeting is being held in Athens, Greece, which has seen such drama this year in the struggle against austerity being imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Kicking off the meeting will be a speech from renowned socialist economist, Michael Roberts, who will analyse the causes of the capitalist crisis we are still passing through, and open up a discussion on the alternatives.

Building on this, Jonathan Clyne will be introducing his new version of the Socialist Manifesto which points to the kind of society we need to replace capitalism with.

On the second day of the conference we will be hearing from our Editor Pat Byrne on the national and international significance of the momentous election of left-winger Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of the British Labour Party. We will also hear a report from the international Campaign for a Democratic Public Banking Service which The Socialist Network has played a big part in launching recently.

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‘Our Athens Spring’ a speech by Yanis Varoufakis

VaroufakisPublished: 25 September 2015.

This fascinating and detailed speech on what really happened inside the negotiations between Greece and the Troika, was delivered just over a month ago on August 23, 2015, by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. He was speaking at a festival  organised in the French department of Saône-et-Loire by the local organisation of the French Socialist Party, which is associated with former French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg. Montebourg was sacked from this post in August 2014 by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

?Let me tell you why I am here with words I have borrowed from a famous old manifesto. I am here because:

A spectre is haunting Europe ? the spectre of democracy. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: The state-sponsored bankers and the Eurogroup, the Troika and Dr Schäuble, Spain?s heirs of Franco?s political legacy and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany’s Berlin leadership, Baltic governments that subjected their populations to terrible, unnecessary recession and Greece?s resurgent oligarchy.

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